A Critique of the Parapsychological Random Number Generator Meta-Analyses of Radin and Nelson

Authors: Schub M. Journal: Journal of Scientific Exploration Publication date: 2006 Keywords: meta-analysis, random number generator, mind-matter interaction, critiques
Journal of Scientific Exploration

No statistical significance is quoted in the often-cited 1989 metaanalysis by Radin and Nelson of anomalous direct mental interaction with random number generators. Authors citing it have quoted z-scores ranging from 4.1 to
15.76. The combined statistical significance turns out to be acutely sensitive to the method used to combine the data, and there is at least one method which gives a nonsignificant result. The sensitivity is due to small studies with large hit rates, which in turn is at least partly due to publication bias, for which there is both direct and indirect evidence. Publication bias can account for only part of the long tails of the z distribution, but the remainder could well be the results of methodological problems, since, with the possible exception of the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research data, overall methodological quality is quite poor. Methodological quality turns out to be confounded with publication bias, so the influence of poor quality on the results cannot be ruled out. Given the problems with existing data in this field, convincing evidence for a real effect can only be
provided by new experiments free of reporting biases and methodological issues.

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